"Former Chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder received on Wednesday an honorary doctorate from the University of Damascus in honor of his positive stances towards Arab causes and his belief in dialogue between cultures, international cooperation and coexistence.
this occasion, Schroeder affirmed Syria's right to restore the occupied
Golan by international law and according to Security Council
resolutions 242 and 338, pointing out to the necessity of finding a
solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict and restoring rights.
called the international community to prioritize security and stability
in the Middle East and maintain the unity of Iraq, stressing that the
US administration must end its occupation of Iraq via a timetable for
withdrawal and the inclusion of neighboring countries in finding a
solution for the situation in Iraq.
rejected the policy of isolation, pointing out to the importance of
encouraging and supporting mutual understanding between cultures and
confronting the voices that incite conflict between civilizations. (...)
of the Faculty of Law in Damascus University Fouad Deeb affirmed that
Gerhard Schroeder has contributed via his distinguished political
stances in setting the principles of international laws and higher
values, pointing out to Schroeder's constant support of dialogue and
also added that this honorary degree also honors the German people and
their political stances that support human rights and reject the
policies of hegemony and occupation.
Schroeder signed Arabic-translated copies of his book "Decisions: My
Life in Politics" which includes his memoirs. The book was translated
into Arabic in association with Sham Holdings. (emphasis ours)
His book was translated "into Arabic in association with Sham Holdings." What an appropriate name. It is quite obvious that the Syrian dictatorship greatly appreciates Schroeder's desire to see a U.S. retreat in Iraq and an Israeli retreat from Golan. The rest of the "peace and understanding" babble is little more than a cynical cover - since it is highly unlikely that Schroeder demanded the Syrians stop supporting terror in Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere. Who knows: Perhaps the Syrians are attempting to suck up to Vladimir Putin and Gazprom (Schroeder's current employer) in the process. Tom Lantos had it right.
UPDATE: As our readers correctly note, SPIEGEL ONLINE fails to mention two key facts about Lantos: He is a Democrat and a Holocaust survivor. Had he been a Republican - they would have highlighted it in caps along with his ultra-tight best-cowboy-buddies relationship to President Bush. Instead, he is referred to as a "US representative", a "US politician", and "Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee." But hey - let's be fair - SPIEGEL ONLINE did mention one key personal detail about Lantos to the German audience: He is originally from eastern Europe (you know - that region so many Germans love and respect) - Hungary to be exact. Bottom line: SPIEGEL ONLINE omits the two facts that give Lantos moral authority with their readers (Democrat - Holocaust survivor) and emphasizes the fact that he is from the "US."
Let's put it this way - had Lantos been a Republican - this would have
been a front-page headline throughout
German media. The reaction would have been far more
violent and outraged. Furthermore, the blame would have quickly been associated with Bush.
Main article: After hearing California Representative Tom Lantos' recent comments on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, it is rather obvious that Schroeder, now a well-compensated employee at Gazprom, is fervently disliked on both sides of the American political aisle. These comments, as reported here, speak for themselves:
"Speaking at the dedication ceremony for a
victims of communism memorial in Washington, Lantos said their
departure from the European scene heralded a closer relationship in the
Atlantic alliance, which was badly splintered over Washington's
decision to launch the invasion of Iraq without strong European
Lantos' remarks reflected the lingering bitterness
over French and German opposition to the war, as he recalled how the US
saved Europe from fascism and protected it from communism for
generations. He said the two leaders had turned their backs to the US
and its fight against the next wave of tyranny, Islamic fascism.
The congressman then provoked gasps of amusement and surprise in the
crowd of several hundred when he said he would like to call Schroeder
'a political prostitute, now that he's taking big cheques from (Russian
President Vladimir) Putin. But the sex workers in my district
During his final weeks in office in 2005,
Schroeder signed an agreement between Germany and Russia to build a
pipeline under the Baltic Sea to supply gas directly to Germany.
After leaving office, he became chairman of the North European Gas
Pipeline, which is 51-per-cent owned by Russian state natural gas
company Gazprom - a move that provoked outrage in Germany.
Russia has used its energy reserves as a political chip in its
continuing bid for hegemony in eastern Europe, and has come under
severe criticism for repression of press and other freedoms."
Lantos is also probably quite frustrated at Germany's continuing lack of serious commitment in Afghanistan, where the US, UK and Canada have absorbed around 85% of the fatalities - despite the fact that the operation is a supposedly "multilateral" undertaking.
But consider this - one could argue that Mr. Lantos' words are a bit harsh. They certainly weren't terribly diplomatic. But then, how would the German and US media react if George W. Bush made a billion dollar pipeline deal with - say - a major energy player like Exxon or LukOil towards the end of his second term and then accepted a lucrative position at the same company just three weeks after leaving office? Would the rhetoric be any softer than that of Mr. Lantos?
Think about it...
Endnote: Commenter Helian has this to say:
"So you thought you'd seen the ultimate in hypocrisy? Guess again!! Check out this story.
It seems that Representative Tom Lantos, a Democrat no less, gave vent
to some less than charitable remarks at the expense of booster seat
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder at the recent unveiling ceremony of a new
Washington monument dedicated to the victims of Communism. In fine, he
declared that, if not for the fact that he was loathe to so grossly
insult the prostitutes of his district, he would describe the
diminutive anti-American hate exploiter as a "political whore."
But wait! It gets better. It seems that a certain Ulrich Wilhelm,
described as a spokesman for the German government, "clearly and
decisively" rejected the comparison of Schroeder with a whore, a
sentiment with which any self-respecting hooker must certainly concur.
Schoolmarm Wilhelm was, apparently, quite upset about Lantos'
"unmannerly mode of referring to a former Chancellor of the German
Federal Republic." Apparently the "mannerly mode" for referring to
Chancellors prescribed by the current German incarnation of Emily Post
is drastically different from the "mannerly mode" of referring to U.S.
Presidents. Just ask Ms. Wieszorek-Zeul, whom SPON would, no doubt,
describe as an "expert" in such matters.
What can you say? When the hypocrisy gets this thick, you can't
really react with scorn. It's too ludicrous. All you can do is laugh."
And let's not forget this about Gerhard Schroeder: He continues to insist that Vladimir Putin is a "flawless democrat." Now if that isn't political prostitution - what is?
To push the sales of his new book, former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder - now with Gazprom Inc. - made a number of interviews with German media outlets. He calls Putin "a flawless democrat", draws a link between the policies of President Bush and the faith based political system of Islamic states and describes as "pre-democratic" criticism of his decision to start working for a foreign company immediately after his departure from German politics.
His chancellorship resulted in a deeply disturbed relationship between the U.S. and Germany, left the German state finances in shambles, and made Germany dependent on Russian energy. For this, he definitely deserved praise from Putin and a contract from Russia.
SPIEGEL: The current chancellor has a closer relationship with President Bush than her predecessor did.
Schröder: Good for her.
SPIEGEL: Do you still stand by the statements you made about (Russian President Vladimir) Putin being a "flawless democrat?"
Schröder:Yes, certainly as far as his being a flawless democrat is concerned. I still feel exactly the same about that. (...)
SPIEGEL: You were not particularly tactful toward America.
Schröder: On the contrary. I'm anything but an opponent of America. Otherwise, half of US society would be as well. The problem we have in Germany -- which, admittedly, is not a problem for your publication -- is that significant segments in the press defame any levelheaded criticism of the United States as anti-American. That, of course, is wrong.
SPIEGEL: You are now a member of the supervisory board of a gas pipeline company headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, which everyone knows is a tax paradise. Does this square with being a social democrat?
Schröder: I had nothing to do with choosing the location. It was decided by the joint venture partners, the two German companies and Gazprom, before I became involved. Second, it is absolutely normal not to base a joint venture in the country where the joint venture partners reside -- and if this is the case, it should be in the majority partner's country.
SPIEGEL: Your decision to play such an important role at Gazprom was met with dismay within even the highest ranks of the Social Democratic Party. Isn't a German chancellor obligated to preserve the interests of his own country for life, and not those of another country?
Schröder: Even if my answer to that question were yes -- and that would be my general feeling -- the fact is that the minute a chancellor leaves office he becomes a private citizen, especially when he is a lawyer and of an age when work is still somewhat of a necessity. In that case, he is also obligated to preserve the interests of his clients, and not only those of the state. Your ideas about a former member of the government are pre-democratic. Besides, your comment would imply that my involvement in the pipeline company is contrary to Germany's interests. The opposite is true. When seen in this light, I would in fact have expected a great deal of praise. But that was apparently expecting too much. (Source)
More on his assessment of the Bush administration:
But while Schröder and Bush's initial meetings were friendly, in the end the German leader could not accept the fact that religion seemed to be the driving force in the US president's political decisions.
"If a person adopts a political policy based on what he gleans from his prayers, in other words a personal talk with God, it can lead to difficulties in a democracy," Schröder told the newspaper (Bild am Sonntag).
The Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century led to a separation of church and state powers "from political action based on individual beliefs," he said. He wrote that some elements in the United States are hypocritical regarding secularism and government.
"We rightly criticize that in most Islamic states, the role of religion for society and the character of the rule of law are not clearly separated," Schröder wrote. "But we fail to recognize that in the USA, the Christian fundamentalists and their interpretation of the Bible have similar tendencies." (Source) (emphasis added)
(Read our posting on Schroeder's friendship with Putin of Dec. 2005: Gerhard Schroeder: Vladimir Putin's "Western Collarborator". And, of course, you need to have a look at Schroeder's feet here.)
Springtime for Schroeder and Germany Deutschland is happy and gay! (...) It ain't no myst'ry If it's politics or hist'ry The thing you gotta know is Ev'rything is show biz. (Source; slightly adapted)
"I hope you have not been leading a double life, pretending to be wicked and being really good all the time. That would be hypocrisy." (From "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde / Hat tip David Frum)
Berlin File Says Germany's Spies Aided U.S. in Iraq
Starting in early 2003 and lasting through the American military invasion of Iraq, a German intelligence officer stationed in the office of Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the American commander of the invasion, passed on to the United States information being gathered in Baghdad by two German intelligence officers operating there, a classified German review has found.
The German liaison officer made 25 reports to the Americans, answering 18 of 33 specific requests for information made by the United States during the first few months of the Iraq war in what was a systematic exchange between American intelligence officials and the Germans, according to the German report.
The decision to install the officer was planned and approved at the highest levels of the German government, including by Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the chief of staff for Gerhard Schröder, then the chancellor, and by the foreign minister at the time, Joschka Fischer. Mr. Steinmeier is now the foreign minister.
This exchange of intelligence information is described in a classified report prepared by a committee of the German Parliament that held closed-door hearings on the role of German intelligence during the Iraq war over the past few weeks.
The German government was a vocal critic of the Bush administration's decision to use military force to topple Saddam Hussein and has long insisted that it provided only limited help to the United States-led coalition. But in recent months, news reports of greater German involvement prompted the parliamentary review, which indicates that German-American cooperation during the war was continuing, systematic and regular. (...)
The report found that the operation was closed down when the American invasion came to an end, at which point all three of the German intelligence officials — the two in Baghdad and the liaison officer with General Franks in Qatar — were given the American Meritorious Service Medals recognizing the "critical information to United States Central Command to support combat operations in Iraq." (...)
We interrupt for a suggestion: American Meritorious Service Medals for Mssrs. Gerhard Schroeder and Joschka Fischer!
Much of the information concerned the location of sites where bombing should be avoided, including embassies and the place where it was thought that a missing American pilot was being held. But in eight of the reports, the German intelligence officer provided information on Iraqi police and military units in Baghdad. According to the report, German officials provided the geographic coordinates of some units, but the report asserts that they did not direct airstrikes against Iraqi leaders or forces.
The German report is consistent with many details in a 2005 classified American report by the Joint Forces Command, dated in the middle of last year, which spoke of the German intelligence liaison
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a fierce critic of the Bush administration, said Saturday that he's pulling for U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the White House.
"I'd be very pleased if Hillary Clinton would become the next American president," Schroeder said to applause from a largely Saudi audience at the Jeddah Economic Forum, which opened here Saturday. "But don't quote me too loud. I hope I'm not harming her by saying that."
Schroeder made the statement during a discussion of global women leaders at a gender-segregated theater where a plastic barrier separated women from men.
This could be the kiss of death for Hillary...
Wall Street Online's OpinionJournal: "So here we have a founding member of the "axis of weasels" endorsing Frau Clinton and drawing cheers from a segregated Saudi audience. It would be hard for Republicans to write a better campaign commercial."
German spies in Baghdad helped U.S.
warplanes strike at least one target during the 2003 Iraq war
despite Berlin's statements it was not involved in the
conflict, German media reported on Thursday.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and NDR television said
two agents of Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency
remained in Iraq throughout the war, supplying U.S.
counterparts with information.
"They gave us direct support. They gave us information for
targeting," NDR quoted a former U.S. military official as
saying in a preview of a programme to be broadcast later on
Thursday. (German report) (For pre-strike and post-strike pics of Mansur on April 7, 2003, check here)
Of course, it is quite unlikely that chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and foreign minister Joschka Fischer didn't know of the BND support for the U.S. Will we now see "Schroeder lied" or "Fischer lied" campaigns in the German media?
Anyway - good job, Gerhard and Joschka!
I suggest a heartfelt "thank you" from President Bush for German chancellor Merkel during her visit this week for the German guidance of American precision bombs in Iraq...
Good old German war qualities are always in demand!
It is so heart warming to see Gerhard Schroeder looking out for the little guy this holiday season. Not long after leaving office this past November, he took on two lucrative jobs, one with his old Maennerfreund Vladimir Putin at Russia's state-controlled gas giant "Gazprom." Of course while he was in office, Schroeder was instrumental in negotiating a multi-billion dollar pipeline deal with Russia and Gazprom on behalf of the German state. His decision to join the company was met with a bit of token outrage in the German media before the subject was promptly dropped. No Watergate knives were brandished and the ex-Chancellor has been largely left to continue about his merry business.
And Schroeder is certainly a busy man these days. As always, he's deeply committed to the ideals of democracy and social justice. Now his new company, Gazprom, is being used by the Putin government to twist the arm of the newly elected, democratic Ukrainian government led by Victor Yushchenko. (Some might recall that Yushchenko was mysteriously poisoned...in classic KGB style...not long before his successful election run.) Anyway, Putin and Gazprom are not happy with the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine and want to lash out at the former Soviet satellite by raising natural gas prices this winter...by over four times! Merry Christmas neighbor...Vladimir and company would prefer to quash your little democratic movement! The Brussels Journal reports:
"Unfortunately, as we reported earlier, President Putin has Western collaborators who assist him in his political and geopolitical strategies. The most infamous of these is the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Last September, during his final weeks in office, Herr Schröder signed an agreement with Russia to build a pipeline on the Baltic seabed. The pipeline, which is to be finished by 2010, will provide Germany with gas directly from Russia, bypassing transit through the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Immediately after his resignation as Chancellor, Schröder was given a lucrative position as an advisor of the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom. The gas deal is generally perceived as being a private pension scheme which Schröder – a Socialist – has provided for himself.
The new pipeline will allow Russia to squeeze the nations that it occupied until fifteen years ago. One of these countries is the Ukraine. ... Such prices would, however, bankrupt Eastern and Central European nations. Moscow has apparently forgotten that it was the Russian imposed Communist dictatorship which caused the dire conditions these countries are in today. Russia has a historical debt to these nations but, with the help of an immoral German Socialist, President Putin (a former Colonel of the Soviet secret police KGB and hence one of those directly responsible for the crimes of the Communists) intends to ignore this."
So far Gerd has refused to unleash his world-famous negotiating skills to resolve the crisis with Ukraine. And the German media has absolutely no interest in investigating the ex-Chancellor's obvious (and massive) conflict-of-interest in taking the Gazprom post just weeks after leaving office. Why would they? They know that, ideologically, Gerd-baby is one of theirs...a member of the German leftist-elite. So they refuse to ruin his reputation any more than necessary. In fact, SPIEGEL ONLINE is already writing conciliatory pieces praising Schroeder as a "gifted instinct politician" to placate their readership.
This much is clear: If George W. Bush or Tony Blair ever pulled a similar stunt and took a job at Halliburton just weeks after leaving office, they'd be in hot water with the German media for years and the talk of scandal would have no end. They would be under even more "massive pressure" in the German media than they already are.
But this is Gerhard Schroeder folks. The man who stood up for "peace" against the USA in 2002-3. Had he succeeded in his quest for "peace", Saddam could still be in power shoveling kids into mass graves and all would be well. In fact, Schroeder was so committed to "peace" that he even supported selling European arms and nuclear reactors to the "peaceful" Communist Chinese government. And because of this commitment, Schroeder will always be fondly remembered by his compatriots in the German media. Never mind his total failure to solve the domestic unemployment crisis. Never mind his pandering to dictators, thugs and oligarchs from China to the Middle East to Russia. Never mind his party's massive losses in state elections and abysmally low ratings throughout his administration. Never mind any of that. Gerd is, at his core, one of them. And that's all that really matters.
The Washington Post is hardly one of America's more conservative publications. So it was highly interesting to read the newspaper's take on Gerhard Schroeder's new Russian pipeline job in the editorial section yesterday. Here are excerpts of the piece, entitled "Gerhard Schroeder's Sellout":
"IT'S THE SORT of behavior we have -- sadly -- come to expect from some in Congress. But when Gerhard Schroeder, the former German chancellor, announced last week that he was going to work for Gazprom, the Russian energy behemoth, he catapulted himself into a different league. It's one thing for a legislator to resign his job, leave his committee chairmanship and go to work for a company over whose industry he once had jurisdiction. It's quite another thing when the chancellor of Germany -- one of the world's largest economies -- leaves his job and goes to work for a company controlled by the Russian government that is helping to build a Baltic Sea gas pipeline that he championed while in office. To make the decision even more unpalatable, it turns out that the chief executive of the pipeline consortium is none other than a former East German secret police officer who was friendly with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, back when Mr. Putin was a KGB agent in East Germany. If nothing else, Mr. Schroeder deserves opprobrium for his bad taste. (...)
On a broader level, Mr. Schroeder's decision to swap his job with the German government for a job funded by the Russian government should raise questions for German voters about their country's relationship with Russia. During his seven years as chancellor, Mr. Schroeder went out of his way to ignore the gradual suppression of political rights in Russia and to play down the significance of Russia's horrific war in Chechnya. Throughout his term in office, Mr. Schroeder thwarted attempts to put unified Western pressure on Russia to change its behavior. We can only hope that Germany's new chancellor, Angela Merkel, uses this extraordinary announcement as a reason to launch a new German policy toward Russia, one based on something other than Mr. Schroeder's private interests."
Read the entire thing. This is truly amazing. Remember how Schroeder was always looking out for the "little-guy" in Germany? Remember how he was always the champion of "social justice." Remember how he always demanded other Germans show solidarity with the poor and unemployed. And then he can't even wait one month after losing the Chancellery to take a cushy, lucrative job representing the wealthy stockholders of a Russian gas pipeline company that he helped to promote while in office? The fact that the company is run by a former East German secret police officer who was close to Putin in his KGB years is truly disgusting.
And the German media is still showing more interest in Tookie Williams and the so-called CIA scandal than this. Schroeder's actions represent a true scandal of massive proportions. But his left-wing friends are afraid to dig too deep and hurt their own party. Could you imagine how the German (and American) media elite would react if Bush did something like this? We would be hearing about it for years. It would be Watergate times 10 or more!
UPDATE: For the second day in a row a scathing editorial on Gerhard Schroeder and the Russians appeared on the Washington Post's editorial page. This time it was an article by Anne Applebaum entitled: "What Are the Russians Buying?" Here is an excerpt of that:
"Even here in Washington -- a city populated by lobbyists who once held political office and government officials who once worked as lobbyists -- it's hard to top the story of Gerhard Schroeder. Last week the former German chancellor announced that he'd accepted a job offer from Gazprom, the state-controlled Russian energy mega-company. As one of his last acts in office, Schroeder signed an agreement to build a diplomatically and environmentally controversial Baltic Sea gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Now he's working for the company that will build it. It's as if Jimmy Carter had negotiated the return of the Panama Canal to Panama -- and then signed a lucrative contract to manage the shipping lanes.
But there's more here than just the former German chancellor's quest for personal enrichment -- or funds to pay alimony to his three ex-wives. The story also reflects the growing international power of Russian money."
Germany's former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder apparently has a new boss: Mr. Vladimir Putin.
Germany's Schroeder Joins Russian-German Gas Pipeline Project
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will lead the shareholders committee for a German- Russian gas-pipeline project to pump gas under the Baltic Sea, OAO Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller said today.
State-controlled Gazprom began building the more than 4- billion-euro ($4.7 billion) North European gas pipeline project today in the town of Babaeyvo in Russia's Volodga region, north of Moscow.
The pipeline will allow Gazprom to ship gas directly to Germany, bypassing Poland, Ukraine and Belarus. It will carry 27.5 billion cubic meters of gas a year in 2010 and twice that much by 2012, Miller said. Gazprom will raise gas exports to Europe 4.1 percent to 151 billion cubic meters in 2006 following a 3.1 percent jump this year as demand and prices rise.
Gazprom owns 51 percent of the project and Germany's BASF and E.ON each hold 24.5 percent.
On September 8, 2005, Schroeder - then still German chancellor - attended the signing of the contract for the pipeline, together with Putin. The pipeline had a clear political background - the contract needed the approval of the German as well as the Russian government. The deal increased Germany's already dangerous reliance on Russian gas deliveries.
I guess the two chaps used the opportunity to also discuss Schroeder's future role at Gazprom.
This is a conflict of interest if there ever was one. I'm sure the German media will be furious about Schroeder's decision to join Gazprom, so soon after the signing of the pipeline contract.
BERLIN/WASHINGTON - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will question U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice over allegations the CIA used airports in Germany for secret flights transporting terror suspects, officials said Monday.
Well, looks like the German government at the time was informed about the CIA activities.
Even worse, titans of moral outrage over American policies such as former Chancellor Schroeder and his Foreign Secretary Fischer (as well as the current Foreign Secretary Steinmeier) were possibly involved in such CIA anti-terror activities for years, as German sources report today (Monday, Dec. 5). The cooperation between the CIA and German authorities apparently worked smoothly:
She (secretary of state Rice) added that "some governments choose to cooperate with the U.S." in intelligence and law enforcement matters and that cooperation is a "two-way street."
The U.S., she said, has shared intelligence that has "stopped terrorist attacks and saved innocent lives, in Europe as well as in the U.S. and other countries." (Source)
I guess German politics and the German media now will have to take their moral outrage to other venues...
"In his heyday as leader of Germany, Gerhard Schröder was always ready to demonstrate indignation at how George W. Bush waged his war on terror. He loved to portray himself as the man who kept Germany out of Iraq. On his watch, Germany would have no part in the methods with which America waged its global campaign against al-Qaida. He liked to underline that stance by saying accusations against Washington should be held accountable for its actions.
Schröder's time is over now. But questions about Germany's involvement in the methods of CIA agents operating in Europe are catching up with him as well as with the other political pensioners -- former foreign minister Joschka Fischer and especially former interior minister Otto Schily. Research by the Washington Post, SPIEGEL and other media show that neither the previous government nor the new administration under Angela Merkel should have been surprised about the reports in recent weeks about secret prisoner transports, secret prisons and CIA kidnappings.
It is also becoming ever clearer that the Schröder government was informed in detail and at an early stage about the policy of so-called "extraordinary renditions" and "black sites" across Europe. Cabinet ministers in Berlin clearly didn't just know the dirty details about Bush's unrestricted war on terror by reading the newspapers.
In some cases German intelligence officers even tried to profit from the controversial methods by questioning prisoners who were being held without any legal foundation. Schröder's stance on Iraq was popular and won him votes. But behind its anti-American veil, his government was quietly complicit and was occasionally rewarded for its silence."
Buckle your seatbelts folks. This could just be the tip of the iceberg...
Check our posting on the citation cartell of U.S. and German liberal media. We call it "consensus outrage".
(You may want to cast your vote in this competition for the "Best European Blog" (Non UK)).
Former German Chancellor Schroeder and Foreign Minister Fischer almost completely disappeared from the political radar just a couple of days after Angela Merkel and the Grand coalition of conservatives and social democrats took over the government.
The red-green coalition, which started in 1998 with the promise to change matters for good in Germany, all but failed in every respect.
Schroeder’s failure to lift Germany’s sluggish economic growth to at least average European levels weighs as much as the worsening unemployment figures. Not that a government can do much good for economic growth and job creation in a free market environment– but wasn’t it Schroeder-Fischer’s stated philosophy of close cooperation between government, unions and employer associations that was supposed to create job growth and economic fortunes for the German masses?
Well, it didn’t happen. The much touted fiscal stability, always promised for the very next year by Schroeder’s Finance Minister Eichel, never materialized. It wasn’t until after Schroeder’s retirement that the finance experts of the new government discovered an additional budget deficit to the tune of tens of billions of Euros.
Much ado was made in 1998 about a new era in environmental policies. After all, this – over two decades – was the cornerstone of the green party’s political platform. I guess one could easily agree even with proponents of Environmental Minister Trittin that the major impact of the red-green environmental policy lies in the gradual decline of nuclear energy in Germany and the massive subsidizing of energy from wind mills and solar technology. Why this would benefit the German economy and the German consumer, however, is open to discussion. While other European (and non-European) countries increasingly rely on cheap nuclear energy, Germany under Schroeder has decided to turn to expensive “alternative” energy sources – and to Russian gas. Also, as a result of the green party’s mullah-like opposition to genetic research, Germany now is probably the last place one would consider to start a bio-tech business.
Ray and I created this blog as a reaction to the unfortunate increase of anti-Americanism in the German media. This was paralleled and to a certain extent caused by the anti-American philosophies of Schroeder. During his entire career, Schroeder had turned a cold shoulder to American politics and to American politicians. Pre-1990, as Minister President of the state of Lower Saxony, Schroeder focused on warm relations with communist East Germany. No bad words to be heard from him on the many human rights abuses of the East German “government”. On the contrary, he actively tried to hinder investigations of refugee killings by East German border troops. As Chancellor, Schroeder pushed for a Franco-Allemand alliance to dominate the European Union – in a rather ridiculous attempt to counter American influence on world policy matters.
It is quite telling that Schroeder now wants “to learn English” as one of his post-Chancellor activities. Maybe as a lawyer looking for clients he may develop an interest in the American point of view.
Zurich, November 24, 2005 Gerhard Schröder will join Ringier. Effective January 2006, the former German Chancellor will act as personal advisor to Michael Ringier in issues of international politics. (More here: 1, 2, 3)
I guess Ringier wants Schroeder to open doors in Washington, using his close personal relationship with George W. Bush...